Frequently Asked Questions about The Revised Core Curriculum

What is Auburn University’s Core Curriculum?

The specific courses each student completes in order to fulfill Auburn University’s core curriculum requirements will depend upon the particular major in which the student is enrolled. Students should consult their curriculum models and discuss their options with their academic advisor. All Auburn students (except students in the SGCOE) complete the following:

  • 6 semester hours of English Composition
  • 12 semester hours of Humanities courses, including at least 3 hours of literature and 3 hours of fine arts
  • a 6 semester-hour sequence in either History or Literature
  • 12 semester hours of Social Science courses, including at least 3 hours of world history and 3 hours of a social science other than history
  • a 3-4 semester hour mathematics course
  • an 8-hour science sequence that includes laboratory experiences
Why do I have to take core curriculum classes?

The purpose of the Auburn University Core Curriculum is to foster the knowledge, skills, and perspectives that are hallmarks of an Auburn graduate. By completing courses that represent a range of disciplines, you will develop skills that will help to prepare you for a career after graduation, and you will begin to acquire an educated appreciation of the natural world, of human life, and of the interactions between them.

How are core classes relevant to my degree?

Some of the courses required as part of the core may seem unrelated to the specific academic major you are pursuing or your long-term career goals, but these courses ensure that students develop the broad knowledge an educated citizen needs in order to be a thoughtful, active member of the twenty-first century.

The core courses also help you develop the competencies identified by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) as essential for career readiness. The NACE career readiness skills are: critical thinking and problem solving; oral and written communication; teamwork and collaboration; digital technology; leadership; professionalism and work ethic; career management and self-efficacy; and, global and intercultural fluency.

What skills will the core curriculum strengthen?

The 41-42 hrs of the core curriculum will introduce you to the General Education Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs), which are reinforced through your major courses, your work experiences, and your participation in activities and organizations on campus. These outcomes are: information literacy, critical thinking (analytical reading and argument analysis), mathematical and scientific literacy, informed citizenship, diversity awareness, and aesthetic appreciation.

These skills overlap considerably with the NACE career readiness skills. In addition, many of the core courses are taught using active learning techniques which help to strengthen skills in leadership, collaboration, problem-solving, and teamwork.

What kind of academic subjects are taught in core classes?

Many subjects you might expect have course offerings included in the core. For example, Biological Sciences, Chemistry, History, English, Mathematics, Sociology, Psychology, and Physics all offer core courses. There are also core offerings from subjects you might not have encountered before, such as Anthropology; Counseling Psychology; Crops, Soils & Environmental Science; Natural Resource Management; and Sustainability.

Why do different majors require different core classes?

Your faculty want your major courses to build on the foundation established by the core, so in some cases, they may either require or recommend that you make specific selections among core course options. Students pursing science, technology or engineering majors, for instance, will be required to have Calculus as their core math course, because it is essential for success in upper-division courses they will be required to complete; or, students majoring in a fine arts discipline (art, music, theater) may be guided to take specific fine arts core courses to help strengthen their understanding of the breadth of their chosen field.

I know someone who was able to count an American History sequence as part of their core courses, but my advisor tells me that I can’t. Why?

Auburn University values global awareness and an appreciation of diversity as essential elements of preparing you for your future career and for twenty-first century life. Consequently, we require students who begin at Auburn as first-time freshmen to complete a history course with a global perspective. Students who completed an American history course at an Alabama community college or who received AP/IB credit for US history are permitted to count that credit toward their Auburn social science core credits, but they must be sure to complete another course that addresses diversity or global awareness.

What if I completed some courses but I then change my major to something that requires different core selections?

It isn’t unusual for students to change their major during their first year at college. If you change your major, you should speak with your new advisor as soon as possible about how your core courses will apply to your new major. You should also check your DegreeWorks audit online. In general, Auburn makes every effort to accept the core courses you have completed to fulfill requirements for your new major. You may be required to complete additional core courses if they are necessary prerequisites for other courses in your new major or if professional accreditation standards require all students to have completed specific courses.

What if I took some of my core classes elsewhere or received credit for them through AP/IB credit?

Auburn accepts transfer credit from two- and four-year colleges and universities, and we are guided by the Alabama General Studies Committee regarding the articulation of courses completed at Alabama public institutions of higher education. Auburn accepts AP/IB credit as specified on Credit Tables page.  You can learn more about how courses you have taken elsewhere will count toward your Auburn degree by consulting your DegreeWorks audit or the Transfer Articulation tables .

I hear people refer to Core or General Education Student Learning Outcomes. What are they?

The student learning outcomes are embedded in the core courses and every major curriculum, so if you follow your official curriculum model you will complete courses that address all of the outcomes. If you have transfer credit for the US History sequence, you should talk with your advisor about your social science core options to make sure that you complete a course that fulfills the diversity awareness learning outcome. The 2011-Spring 2018 general education learning outcomes are:

  • Students will be information literate.
  • Students will be able to read analytically and critically.
  • Students will be able to critique and construct an argument effectively.
  • Students will be able to apply simple mathematical methods to real-world problems.
  • Students will be able to write effectively.
  • Students will demonstrate effective oral communication skills.
  • Students will be informed and engaged citizens of the United States and the world.
  • Students will understand and appreciate the diversity of and within societies of the United States and the world.
  • Students will understand and appreciate methods and issues of science and technology.
  • Students will understand and appreciate the arts and aesthetics as ways of knowing and engaging with the world.

Effective Fall 2018, the general education Student Learning Outcomes will be:

In order to become lifelong learners and use their education to solve practical problems, by the time of graduation, students will be able to effectively:

  1. locate, evaluate, and use information.
  2. read and think critically.
  3. apply mathematical methods.
  4. write and revise for a variety of purposes.
  5. create and deliver oral presentations.
  6. analyze their own society and its relationship to the larger global context.
  7. interact in intercultural situations.
  8. apply scientific principles.
  9. analyze and value creative artistic endeavors.
Sometimes I see references to Area I, II, III, or IV. What do Area I-Area IV refer to?

Auburn University’s general education requirements are subject to the State of Alabama General Studies Articulation of 1994, which established a statewide Committee to develop and oversee the general studies curriculum and public two- and four-year colleges and universities in the State. That Committee divided the general studies curriculum into four broad areas: Area I—Written Composition; Area II--Humanities and Fine Arts; Area III—Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Area IV—History, Social, and Behavioral Sciences. Transfer students from Alabama’s community colleges may also have completed courses in Area V—Pre-Professional, Major, and Elective Courses, prior to matriculating at Auburn.

I am a transfer student. Where can I learn more about transfer policies related to the core?

The State Transfer and Articulation System website provides information about state policies governing core transfer. Auburn University’s  transfer site provides easy access to information about course transfer policies as well as lots of other information transfer students may find useful.